Case | HBS Case Collection | August 2014

Four Products: Predicting Diffusion (2014)

by John Gourville


An updated "Four Products" case. This 2014 version includes: raw lobster meat, electric-powered Formula One race cars, a 3D printer for cosmetics, and a "smart" tennis racket. These four products form the basis to assess the drivers of new product adoption. In particular, one of the critical tasks in the marketing of new innovations is predicting demand and rates of diffusion for those products. And while one can speculate on the scope and rate of diffusion for any given product, it's helpful to compare and contrast diffusion across products. Doing so allows one to focus on the drivers or product characteristics that influence product diffusion, making one product a star and another a dog. Specifically, looking across products allows one to pick up on things that get lost in discussing a single product.

Note that this case often gets used with HBS Note #505-075, "Note on Innovation Diffusion: Rogers' Five Factors," which either can be distributed along with the case or after the case has been taught.

Keywords: Innovation and Invention; Product Launch; Marketing; Demand and Consumers; Technology Adoption;


Gourville, John. "Four Products: Predicting Diffusion (2014)." Harvard Business School Case 515-023, August 2014.